Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday that she will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
Collins, who met with the judge Tuesday afternoon for the second time, told The New York Times in an interview that Jackson had explained away some concerns Collins had after the judge met with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“I have decided to support the confirmation of Judge Jackson to be a member of the Supreme Court,” said Collins, who opposed the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the fall of 2020, objecting that her nomination was too close to the presidential election.
The GOP senator said that Jackson had reassured her that she would not bend “the law to meet a personal preference,” saying that Jackson met Collins’ personal standards for Supreme Court justices.
“In recent years, senators on both sides of the aisle have gotten away from what I perceive to be the appropriate process for evaluating judicial nominees,” Collins said. “In my view, the role under the Constitution assigned to the Senate is to look at the credentials, experience and qualifications of the nominee. It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the individual ideology of a senator or would vote exactly as an individual senator would want.”
If Collins votes for Jackson, The Times reported, Vice President Kamala Harris would not have to cast the tie breaking vote — an “unprecedented outcome that some saw as potentially damaging to the court’s standing,” the outlet reported.
Collins was also one of three Republicans to vote for Jackson to be confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June, according to The Times.
Her announcement is bound to frustrate Republican senators, such as Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who highlighted Jackson’s record of repeatedly giving lenient sentences to criminals who watched or distributed child pornography.
While Jackson and her allies have defended her record by saying that her sentences were based off the recommendations of probation officers, Hawley and other senators pointed out that Jackson’s sentences were even more lenient than those recommended to her.
Collins did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire on this point.
The Maine senator also told The Times that Jackson had assured her that she would “forever stay out of” the issue of packing the court.
“I don’t expect that any of the justices I am going to agree with on every decision — that’s impossible,” the senator added. “But I do want them to be able to be devoid of prejudgement, partisanship, preference and to be impartial and rule consistent with legal precedent, the language of the law and the Constitution.”
When Collins voted against Barrett in 2020, she said that the vote did not have to do with Barrett’s character.
“Because this vote is occurring prior to the election, I will vote against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett,” she said in a statement. “To be clear, my vote does not reflect any conclusion that I have reached about Judge Barrett’s qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.”
“What I have concentrated on is being fair and consistent, and I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election,” Collins added, a sentiment widely expressed by Democrats at the time.